|A Treasured Torontonian
|October 26, 2005
For most of his adult life he was an outspoken leader in Toronto's gay and lesbian community, even in times when it wasn't easy to be
out. George Hislop won his battle with the federal government for the right to same-sex survivor benefits, but the activist whose efforts
were admired by people across the country lost his battle with a long illness when he died at the age of 78.
While many celebrated the passing of Bill C-38 this summer, which allows gay and lesbian couples to wed, Hislop was patiently waiting
for Ottawa to recognize his long-term relationship.
The activist was denied the survivor benefit from the Canada Pension Plan after his partner Ronald Shearer passed away in 1986. The
law was amended in 2000 but the government denied Hislop again because his common-law companion died before the arbitrary cut-
off date of January 1998.
He wanted to see that date moved back to 1985 and he launched a class-action lawsuit in the Court of Appeal and won in November
This August he received his first survivors benefit cheque. “It's about time - it proves to me that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has
teeth in it," he said after he received the important piece of mail.
Hislop was the first openly gay person to run for elected office in Canada and he served as the executive director of the Community
Homophile Association of Toronto for many years. He fought to secure anti-discrimination protection for gays and lesbians on the
municipal, provincial and national stage.
He was honoured by Toronto's gay and lesbian community in 2004 when he was selected to be the grand marshal of that year's Pride
parade, and in 2005 he was honoured with the International Gay and Lesbian Law Association's Karl Heinrich Ulrichs award.
Source: CAW NewsNow (Oct.12/05)